I always said that if I was going to ride a hot air balloon, it was going to be in one of two places: Cappadocia or the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Both seemed out of reach for me this year, so I put ballooning on my long-term travel goals, right up there with going on safari. Imagine my surprise when I received a wedding invitation from a friend announcing that she was getting married the…

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24 hours is not enough time to pay anywhere justice, let alone a fabulous city like Milan, Italy. We all have to work with the time we have though, and it’s better to have a short visit to Milan than no visit at all. You can spend 24 hours in the city just by shopping. Those with a fondness for brand names will find no shortage of merchandise here. Milan is a really fancy city. From poodles in tutus to diamond adorned storefronts, the…

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Florence has everything a tourist could possibly want–incredible music, a walkable city center, world-class art and a never-ending supply of delicious Italian food. Somehow, despite eating carbs constantly during my trip, I returned slimmer than when I left. It could be the 5th floor walk-up apartment. Lifts are few and far in between in the old city, but you enter through giant castle doors, so there’s a certain give and take. It could be because every…

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Not everyone thinks to attend an opera performance while in Florence, Italy, but failing to partake in this experience while visiting Italy would be a grave oversight. Florence truly has the best of everything — the best views, the best art and the best food. There is so much competition to be the best that even Leonardo (Da Vinci) gets put in the corner. So it is with a full appreciation for the weight of the…

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Everyone knows the Italian food staples–pizza, pasta, gelato–but did you know that one of the best places in the world to find a steak is actually Florence, Italy? I know what you’re thinking. What could this Tuscan city possibly know about a good slab of beef? Turns out, quite but. A Florentine steak, or a bistecca fiorentina as it’s called, is cut from younger cattle and boasts a tender, juicy quality. To be an authentic…

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